Drop in peak energy demand worries power producers

Published On: March 2, 2017 12:30 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

Peak demand is at around 1,250 MW which is lower than NEA's forecast
KATHMANDU, March 2: End of load-shedding may have brought cheers among consumers, but it has left energy producers worried. They are worried because peak energy demand has gone down unexpectedly.

According to energy demand forecast of Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA), the peak energy demand is 1559 MW for the current fiscal year. But actual demand has remained in the range of 1,200 to 1,300 MW, NEA officials say.

Energy demand hits peak during cold winter days. NEA officials have confirmed that peak demand won't go up further as days are becoming warmer. Peak demand in the last fiscal year was above 1,500 MW. 

The unexpected fall in peak demand has left independent power producers worrying. They fear NEA, the sole buyer, will not buy energy generated by them.

Khadga Bahadur Bisht, former president of Independent Power Producers' Association, said the low peak demand has worried producers. Speaking at an interaction organized by Water Resources and Energy Journalist Society Nepal on Wednesday, Bisht urged the government to bring programs to increase energy consumption. 

Similarly, IPPAN Chairperson Shailendra Guragain said as Nepal's per capital consumption is far below the per capita consumption in Asia, the government should bring program to increasing per capita consumption. “A Nepali consumes only 130 units of electricity now which is far below Asian per capita consumption of 1,000 units,” added Guragain. 

However, Kulman Ghising, managing director of NEA, assured the power producers, saying that there was nothing to be worry about. “Consumption has remained low because consumers have helped us to manage supply as they are not using energy-intensive appliances during peak hour as per our request,” Ghising said, adding that the demand will make a quantum jump in coming years. 

Ghising has received accolades from all quarters for eradicating power cuts through demand side management. 

The government has set a target of generating 10,000 MW in the next ten years, expecting that that energy demand will increase with the rise in economic activities and creation of investment friendly environment.

Projecting energy surplus during wet season, NEA had introduced a provision of buying electricity only when needed two years ago, making several projects unbankable. But provision has been scrapped now.

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